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July 28 2017 10:22 PM
CORK CITY 2 GALWAY UNITED 1
Sheppard strike puts seal on Cork fightback
Cork City had to come from behind to overcome Galway United as they moved 18 points clear with a game in hand.
Shane Keegan’s side are the only team to have taken points off Cork this season, and for three-quarters of the game it looked like the Tribesmen would frustrate their hosts once more.
Galway went ahead inside six minutes with a goal from former City man Gavan Holohan, and they were still in front at the break.
Garry Buckley levelled soon after the restart as John Caulfield’s side improved markedly in the second half, but victory wasn’t an inevitability.
Stephen Dooley volleyed straight at visiting goalkeeper Conor Winn, who then made a heroic save to keep out Buckley’s header. On 68 minutes, though, Steven Beattie’s cross from the right was met by Karl Sheppard and while the ball might have gone in any way, a touch off Galway defender Lee Grace ensured that Winn couldn’t keep it out.
Cork were lethargic in the first half, despite the eight-day break since their Europa League exit against AEK Larnaca. Galway started strongly and went in front when Holohan fired past Mark McNulty.
The home keeper did well to deny Padraic Cunningham while at the other end Kieran Sadlier found Dooley with a through ball but his touch past Winn took the ball too far wide. Ronan Murray looked to have doubled the lead on 48 but he touched the ball to the net with his hand.
City responded after that and ultimately found the goals they needed.
Grace almost equalised in injury-time, but his header hit the post and City held out.
CORK CITY – McNulty; Beattie (Ellis 89), Bennett, Delaney, Griffin; McCormack, Morrissey; Sadlier (Campion half-time), Buckley, Dooley (McCarthy 82); Sheppard.
GALWAY UNITED - Winn; Grace, Folan, Horgan; Devaney, Byrne (Manning 85), Holohan, Cawley, Ludden; Cunningham (McCormack 64), Murray.
Ref – S Grant (Wexford).
DROGHEDA UNITED 0 ST PATRICK’S ATH 1 - Fagan sinks Drogs to give Saints breathing space
LIAM BUCKLEY saw St Pats win three in a row for the first time in 16 months in the league as they condemned Drogheda to yet another defeat at United Park.
Christy Fagan’s early opener proved the difference between the sides by the Boyne as Pat’s continued their upsurge in form.
Pat’s have now taken 11 points from 18 available and are starting to look up the table after a dire start to the campaign.
With every passing week comes another ‘biggest game of the season’ for Drogheda. So far, they’ve failed to step up to the mark. United are without a win since April and their dismal recent form leaves them in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of the table.
Pat’s hit the front after 14 minutes at United Park but they had hit the crossbar twice before that. First Kurtis Byrne connected with Killian Brennan’s corner and his looping effort came off the top of the woodwork.
A minute before the opener, the bar denied Fagan too. Conan Byrne crossed the ball across the six-yard box but the striker’s effort came off the underside of the bar and into Stephen McGuinness’ arms.
Moments later, he found the net. Again Byrne squared from the right and this time Fagan just helped the ball inside the post for his sixth of the season.
Drogheda had a chance when Thomas Byrne capitalised on Lee Desmond’s loose ball at the back but he couldn’t get his shot away and was smothered out.
Pat’s could have doubled their lead before the break but Lloyd Buckley cleared Conan Byrne’s goalbound header.
Adam Wixted went closest for United but his shot was saved by Conor O’Malley at the death.
DROGHEDA UNITED – McGuinness; Deasy (Elworthy, 36), Buckley, Gallagher, Kane; McEvoy, Hyland; Russell (Wixted, 76), Bayly (Brennan, 73) Byrne; Mulhall.
ST PAT’S ATH – O’Malley; Barker, Balk, Desmond, Bermingham; Brennan; C Byrne, Kelly, K Byrne (Markey, 83), Dennehy (Lunney, 90+30; Fagan (J O'Hanlon, 84).
Ref – P Tuite
Bray Wanderers 2 Finn Harps 3 - Resurgent Harps compound Bray’s problems
Finn Harps piled on the misery for 10-man Bray Wanderers, who slumped to a fourth straight defeat before an attendance of just 563 at the Carlisle Grounds.
It was miserable end to another bizarre day for Bray, who earlier in the day once again went on the attack, this time with an unsigned 1,200-word missive which re-iterated the view that their ambition was being hindered by problems associated with operating in Wicklow.
Once again, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un was referenced, as were the freedom fighters of the 1916 rising, and how Wicklow politicians should learn from the late Jackie Healy-Rae when it comes to prioritising local issues.
“We have been laughed at for working tirelessly and giving hard-earned money towards a cause that we believe to be far greater than just our club,” Bray claimed.
While Bray flounder, Harps are on the up. This was their third win in four games and moves them five points clear of the bottom three.
Their more direct approach brought Harps a 24th-minute lead. A sublime through-ball from Paddy McCourt found Eddie Dsane in behind right-back Keith Buckley and the little striker rifled a shot to the roof of the net for his third goal in four games.
A terrific goal-line clearance from Ethan Boyle denied Anto Flood an equaliser.
Poor defending then saw Harps increase their lead on the stroke of half-time following a handball by Bray skipper Conor Kenna. New signing Mark Timlin’s low free-kick arrowed straight through the wall to the net for a goal on his debut.
It got worse for Bray as keeper Peter Cherrie was shown a straight red card on 63 minutes for a foul on Dsane outside his area.
Bray did manage to hit back on 70 minutes when Aaron Greene tapped home Keith Buckley’s low cross.
But Harps restored their two-goal lead on 84 minutes.
The impressive Boyle whipped a cross in from the right and substitute Ibrahim Keita, on the pitch less than a minute, glanced his header home for his first goal for the club.
Ryan Brennan volleyed home following an 87th minute corner to give Bray hope. But Harps held on.
Bray Wanderers – Cherrie; Buckley, Douglas (Clancy 31), Kenna, Moore; Salmon, Noone; Brennan, McCabe (Marks h-t), Greene; Flood (Stacey 64).
Finn Harps – Gallagher; Boyle, Mailey, Cantwell, Coll; Molloy (Harkin 79); McAleer, McCourt, Houston, Timlin (Bonner 73); Dsane (Keita 83).
Ref – A Buttimer (Cork)